New York Giants
Eli Manning in at quarterback, the targets looked like so -- Victor Cruz: 19, Ramses Barden: 9, Martellus Bennett: 6, Rueben Randle: 4, Hakeem Nicks: 2, Jerrel Jernigan: 2, Domenik Hixon: 2, D.J. Ware: 2, David Wilson: 2, Bear Pascoe: 1, Henry Hynoski: 1, Ahmad Bradshaw: 1
Hakeem Nicks’ foot injury just amplified how important Victor Cruz is to this team. He was by far the main target for Manning and even though Nicks will be right up there this season, you have to like Cruz’s stability.
After those two, the targets get a little iffier. It looks like the third receiver hasn’t quite stepped up yet and Martellus Bennett has yet to stand out. There are enough targets in New York to support a third fantasy receiver if one does arise. Keep your eyes open.
New York Jets
Mark Sanchez in at quarterback, the targets looked like so -- Patrick Turner: 7, Stephen Hill: 7, Shonn Greene: 6, Santonio Holmes: 4, Jordan White: 3, Dustin Keller: 3, John Conner: 2, Josh Baker: 2, Dedrick Epps: 1, Jeff Cumberland: 1
Run very far away.
And then look back (Tebow will keep you from turning into a pillar of salt) and hope that Santonio Holmes steps up his game and Sanchez targets him early and often every single game.
Sanchez loves to target Dustin Keller, so there’s always some possibility there, but I’d like to see Holmes with the ball more often. He’s the only true playmaker on the team.
Carson Palmer in at quarterback, the targets looked like so -- Rod Streater: 17, Brandon Myers: 9, Darrius Heyward-Bey: 8, Jacoby Ford: 5, Darren McFadden: 5, Richard Gordon: 3, Taiwan Jones: 3, Eddie McGee: 3, Mike Goodson: 2, David Ausberry: 1, Marcel Reece: 1
Being an Oakland Raider receiver is risky business. The chances of you being injured or mauled by a cougar are much higher than if you, say, are a receiver on a different team (unless it’s San Diego). So the 17 targets for Streater was helped by Denarius Moore and Jacoby Ford being hurt, but it did help the undrafted rookie establish himself as a capable player, with fantasy upside.
The best fantasy player on the team, Darren McFadden, didn’t see a ton of action in the preseason, but did manage five targets from Palmer in the passing game. That’s nothing to scoff at, and really, scoffing is just so out right now.
Michael Vick in at quarterback, the targets looked like so -- Clay Harbor: 2, DeSean Jackson: 2, Damaris Johnson: 1, Jason Avant: 1, LeSean McCoy: 1
Vick really didn’t play enough for these numbers to mean anything. Jeremy Maclin should be the target leader this season, with Desean Jackson and Brent Celek next in line.
Ben Roethlisberger in at quarterback, the targets looked like so -- Antonio Brown: 12, Emmanuel Sanders: 7, Chris Rainey: 5, Jerricho Cotchery: 4, David Johnson: 2, Leonard Pope: 2, Jonathan Dwyer: 2, Heath Miller: 2, Isaac Redman: 2
With Mike Wallace gone much longer than his allotted 60 minutes, Antonio Brown stood and delivered (and also ran and jumped and caught, etc…). He has the edge on targets going into the season and there’s a decent chance he keeps the edge all season.
At this point Wallace and Brown (sorry Gromit) are the only two receivers worth owning in fantasy. The amount of time speedster Chris Rainey was on the field and targeted was intriguing, but his touches will be extremely limited.
San Diego Chargers
Philip Rivers in at quarterback, the targets looked like so -- Malcom Floyd: 7, Ronnie Brown: 6, Antonio Gates: 6, Michael Spurlock: 3, Robert Meachem: 3, Le'Ron McClain: 2, Vincent Brown: 1, Randy McMichael: 1
As long as Antonio Gates and Malcom Floyd can stay on the field, they’ll be the favorite targets for Rivers. Of course keeping Charger receivers healthy is a fool’s errand, but it is what it is.
As you can see, Ronnie Brown was the favorite receiving running back and I believe that will continue while Ryan Mathews is out. And when Mathews come back, just sit back and watch the receptions pour in.
San Francisco 49ers
Alex Smith in at quarterback, the targets looked like so -- Michael Crabtree: 6, Kendall Hunter: 3, Randy Moss: 3, Vernon Davis: 2, Anthony Dixon: 1, Demarcus Dobbs: 1, Ted Ginn: 1, Mario Manningham: 1, Brett Swain: 1
Vernon Davis was the only known fantasy playmaker in the receiving game coming into the season, while Michael Crabtree was the low ceiling target guy. They brought Randy Moss in to help stretch the field, but we’ve yet to see it in preseason. Moss is listed as the #2 receiver, so we should at least get a chance to see how hard he tries.
Look for Kendall Hunter to take over the majority of the passing targets at running back and maybe more as the season progresses.